Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Havel's organisation offers condolences over Cuban dissident's death

Havel's organisation offers condolences over Cuban dissident's death
24 July 2012

Prague/Havana, July 23 (CTK) - The Forum 2000 organisation, initiated by
the late Czech president Vaclav Havel, as well as other Czechs have
offered condolences over the death of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya who
died in a car accident on Sunday aged 60 years.

Forum 2000 invited Paya regularly to its annual conferences. However, he
never received a permit from the Cuban government to leave the country,
the organisation says on its web page.

"We would like to sincerely express condolences and support to the whole
family (of Paya)," Forum 2000 writes.

Paya spent decades fighting against the communist regime of Fidel and
Raul Castro in Cuba.

Havel (1936-2011), who was Czechoslovak and Czech president in
1989-2003, nominated Paya for the Nobel Peace Prize twice.

Czech Bishop Vaclav Maly also expressed regret at Paya's death.

"I like to recollect a meeting with him during my visit to Cuba in 2003.
I deeply respected him as a significant courageous man and profound
believer who was filling people around him with hope and strength to
take firm civic positions," the Czech Bishops' Conference quotes Maly as

Maly stressed that he would keep supporting human rights advocates.

Paya and another three passengers went by car from Havana to Bayamo on
Sunday afternoon when the driver lost control of the car and crashed
into a tree. Paya and another Cuban man died in the accident. The other
two persons, Spanish Angel Carromero and Swedish politician Jens Aron
Modig, both 27, were transferred to hospital with injuries, the
lainformacion.com server reported.

The investigation into the accident continues. However, Cuban opposition
is speculating about a murder, the elpais.com server reported.

Long-term catholic dissident Paya, holder of the EP's Sakharov prize
from 2002, was trying to change the totalitarian regime in Cuba in a
peaceful and constitutional way. He faced the regime's repressions for
his human rights promotion. He was arrested and interrogated several times.

In 1999 Paya received Homo Homini award from the Czech People in Need
humanitarian organisation. He visited the Czech Republic and met Havel
in January 2003.


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